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The Pride of the Pico

Baía da Barca - Portugal Travel Guide

Pico Island in the Azores has received countless compliments over the years, but none more satisfying than its description in Florida-based Islands Magazine as 'one of the best places in the world to live'.

Now visitors have a home from home - the newly-built Baía da Barca aparthotel - in which to appreciate the many splendours of this glorious mountain hideaway, a volcanic island seemingly adrift in the vast blue expanses of the mid Atlantic.

"I grew up in the shadow of Pico mountain," remarks owner and general manager João Paulo Martins, who recently fulfilled his lifetime ambition of building a hotel in his home town of Madalena, the island's capital, at the somewhat tender age of thirty.

With its tasteful furnishings and stylish, ultra-modern design, Baía da Barca is not only conveniently located a short walk from the town centre, it also features a fine range of added comforts such as a sauna, small spa, outdoor pool and spacious living rooms in all ten apartments where guests can congregate around the fireplace and watch DVDs on a cold winter's evening.

Indeed, homeliness is a recurring theme in the Azores.

Many locals never leave the island during their entire lifetime and some refuse to even set foot outside the town or village in which they were born.
As a young hotelier with Pico in his blood, Martins is determined to make his new project work for the good of the island.

"My main objective was to make the island more accessible and show people from different countries what we have here, while at the same time making them feel totally at home," he declares.

Few guests will disagree that he has achieved this and created something that his fellow islanders can view with pride.

Future plans at Baía da Barca include a regional restaurant, live local-style entertainment and more apartments on an adjacent plot.

in "Portugal Travel Guide" - 28/10/2009


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